Every December, I have my youngest brother over and we make gingerbread houses together. He loves it. Asks about it all year long. Come December, he BEGS to come over every time I see or talk to him. I’ll have to set the date pretty soon. And I guess this year Jada will get her own little house. We’ll have a sugary fun time together. Read on if you want to celebrate the beginning of December with me!
I forget where I got this recipe from, probably somewhere on the world wide web.
Here is where I got my house template. Of course, you can cut any windows and doors you like and you can choose where to place them. I put my door on the side of the house instead of the end. I’ll include all baking instructions here in this post but the template site has lots of tips for assembling so you can read them there. Oh, I also added the chimney and the trees. For the chimney, make 4 rectangular pieces of gingerbread and then cut out a V on two of the pieces (these are the ones that sit on the peak of the roof). For the trees, draw a Christmas tree shape. For each tree, you’ll need two gingerbread tree shapes. In the one, you cut a slit from the top, half way down and then other, a slit up from the bottom to the middle. Make sense? Okay, so I tried creating a document to upload for you to see the tree and chimney patterns but I couldn’t upload it. Let me know if you don’t understand the above instructions.
Anyway, here’s the recipe:
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup molasses
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1 t ginger
1/2 t cloves
2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/3 cup water
Cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the molasses. Mix the dry ingredients together and add them to the creamed mixture alternately with the water. Divide the dough in 3 balls and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.
When ready to roll out dough, remove 1 ball from the fridge. It may need to sit at room temp a few minutes until it’s roll-able. Place the ball on a piece of aluminum foil and put a piece of wax paper on top. Roll out to 3/16 of an inch (I know, so specific!). Remove the wax paper and cut out the basic shapes. Do NOT cut out little details like doors, windows, the slits in the trees or the chimney V. Keeping pieces on the foil, transfer them to a baking sheet and bake at 375 for about 10 minutes.
IMMEDIATELY upon removal from the oven, use a paring knife to trim the edges of each side and end piece so they are nice and square…makes assembly easier and more clean looking. Then cut out the windows, doors, tree slits, and chimney Vs. This all needs to be done while the pieces are still warm. Once it cools, the cookies are rock hard and you’ll just crack your pieces. Cool the pieces on the cookie sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough until you have all the pieces you need. Any leftover scraps can be rerolled and cut into gingerbread men. Bake these a few minutes less so they remain edible and don’t become bricks.
2 egg whites
3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 t cream of tartar
Beat egg whites, one cup of powdered sugar and cream of tartar until smooth. Add remaining sugar slowly while beating until you have a nice, creamy icing. It shouldn’t be runny but you also don’t want it too stiff or it’s impossible to work with. Note to self: do NOT freeze this for later…it’s useless after thawed.
Yield: 2 6-inch gingerbread houses and a few trees
Have fun assembling!
Here’s a fun little game. The first person to correctly answer all of the questions below will win a batch of my whole wheat peanut butter cookie mix, packaged neatly in a little cloth bag. Be sure to include your e-mail address when you comment so I can contact you. Winner will be announced tomorrow morning.
1) Do cows have upper teeth? A) Yes B) No
2) How many gallons of milk does the average cow produce in one day? A) 3 B) 4.5 C) 8 D) 12
3) What is the average percent of the price of a gallon of milk that goes back to the farmer? A) 20 B) 72 C) 50 D) 30
4) How many bones does a cow’s body have? A) 220 B) 264 C) 293 D) 320
5) What is the record number of calves a single cow has birthed? A) 21 B) 39 C) 48 D) 62
Seeing as how we are a dairy farming family, I’ll be featuring our very favorite dairy recipe tomorrow when I announce the winner of this game. Seriously, it’s our favorite. We fight over it. It’s the first recipe my daughter ever requested that I make.
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